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Secretary’s Column: The Farm Bill at Work in Your State

Last week, USDA marked the six-month anniversary of the signing of the 2014 Farm Bill. I am proud to say that we’ve made important progress on every title of the Farm Bill, including issuing disaster assistance payments, updating risk management tools, modifying farm loan programs, announcing new support for agricultural research, establishing new conservation programs, and much more.

My team and I at USDA have gathered together some top statistics that show how the Farm Bill is at work in your state—and the record results we’ve achieved this time around. For example:

  • We’ve hosted more than 30 outreach and listening sessions to share information and hear from stakeholders like you. As we work to efficiently and effectively implement Farm Bill programs and policies, we will continue to engage with stakeholders about their priorities and the impact that the new provisions will have on their communities. Learn more at www.usda.gov/farmbill.
  • While it took over one year after the 2008 Farm Bill was passed, disaster assistance programs were ready to go in under 10 weeks this time around. As of August 7, USDA has processed 182,384 disaster assistance payments to help farmers and ranchers. Those payments, totaling more than $2.01 billion, will help thousands of farmers and ranchers across the country begin to rebuild after drought, blizzards and flooding. Disaster assistance helps to keep farmers and ranchers in your state from losing their operations and going out of business in the face of extreme weather. To learn more, visit http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
  • The Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a new approach to conservation that brings together new resources and partners, has drawn an overwhelming response with requests for more than six times the $394 million available in federal funding this year. Nearly 5,000 partners from all 50 states submitted 586 initial proposals. Look for new conservation projects at work in your state, in addition to USDA’s ongoing work in conservation, when we begin funding projects later this year.
  • We’ve appointed the 15 members of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) board of directors. The new foundation will leverage public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to boosting America’s agricultural economy. In a time of federal budgetary constraints, the new foundation is another innovative way to continue and expand investment in agricultural research. FFAR will complement existing federally-funded research—some of those projects taking place at the Land Grant Institution in your state—and accelerate solutions to the challenges faced by American agriculture.

We’ve made record progress, but we’re not done yet. We will continue our work to get new initiatives off the ground and make important reforms to existing programs that help to boost the country’s economy. You can track our progress and learn more about how the 2014 Farm Bill is at work in your state at www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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